In an appearance on the commercial TV station Prima on Sunday, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said that the recent slow-down in economic growth could lead to drops in tax revenue of up to 15 billion Czech crowns. He added that further budget cuts will most likely not be necessary, since the planned budget cuts for 2012 should be enough to compensate for a growth in GDP that has been slower than expected. The finance minister said that Europe could be hit by another recession. In the second quarter of 2011, the Czech GDP grew by 2.2 percent, which falls 0.1 percent short of preliminary estimates.
A large-capacity poultry farm in the Moravian-Silesian Bruntál region caught fire on Saturday afternoon. Some 7000 chickens were killed in the fire, which was most likely caused by a technical problem with a conveyor belt. Firefighters assisted employees in saving the chickens; roughly 2600 survived the incident. Damages are estimated to reach a million Czech crowns.
The Czech athlete Barbora Špotáková ended her season with a win in the javelin at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin on Sunday. Špotáková came first with a throw of 67.14 meters, more than two meters further than local favorite Christina Obergföll. The Czech, who is 30, recently took silver at the Athletics World Championship. She is the current Olympic champion and holds the women’s world record in the javelin.
A military plane carrying the bodies of three Czech ice hockey stars who were killed in a tragic plane crash near the Russian city of Yaroslavl on Wednesday arrived at Prague’s military airport Kbely in the early hours of Saturday. The president of the Czech ice hockey federation, Tomáš Král, as well as relatives of the deceased players received the bodies of Karel Rachůnek, Jan Marek and Josef Vašíček at the airport, from where they will be transported to their families. The public will pay their respects to the three Czech victims of this week’s tragic air accident on Sunday afternoon at Old Town Square in Prague. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. On Wednesday, a passenger plane carrying almost all of the Russian hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl went down near the city’s airport and caught fire. The crash caused 43 deaths; one person is reported to have survived, though he is in critical condition with severe burns.
Some three to four hundred far-right extremists gathered in the North
Bohemian towns of Varnsdorf, Rumburk and Nový Bor on Saturday. The events
in the three towns were organized by the Workers Party for Social Justice
and aimed against the region’s Romany minority. Some two hundred
activists traveled to the area in support of the Romanies who live there.
Dozens of police officers worked to ensure safety; police helicopters
monitored the party gathering and march in Nový Bor. Interior Minister Jan
Kubice and the deputy chief of police Vladislav Husák were also present in
Ahead of the extremists’ gathering, the government’s human rights commissioner, Monika Šimůnková, has called on residents of the three towns to not buy into the arguments of radicals and to carefully consider their participation. For days, police have maintained a state of readiness in the area due to assemblies and demonstrations provoked by tensions between ethnic Czechs and Roma, which have escalated over the past month.
In related news, during a police inspection of a bus in which far-right extremists were traveling to Saturday’s demonstration in North Bohemia, one of the passengers got out of the bus and shot a blank firing revolver at the officers. The perpetrator was arrested. The event happened on Saturday afternoon, a police spokeswoman said. Roughly twelve firearms were confiscated in the inspecting of the bus.
Prime Minister Nečas and several cabinet members will be visiting Israel next week for high-level meetings. The government announced the aim of the two-day visit as strengthening partnership and collaboration between the two countries, particularly with regards to science and technology, research and development, and innovation. The delegation is scheduled to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the business community. The upcoming UN vote on Palestinian membership in the organization will likely also be on the table, with the Czech Republic having been reported in the Israeli media as being one of five Western European states that plans to vote against the motion. The Czech government has thus far refused to state publicly its position on the matter.
A fire that broke out on the grounds of the city hospital in Ostrava on Saturday caused damages of roughly two million Czech crowns. No one was injured. The fire broke out in the sauna of the hospital’s rehabilitation ward, from where it spread through the buildings ground floor. Firefighters evacuated over forty people, among them employees and patients of the hospital.
The Indian elephant cub Rashmi, born in Ostrava zoo in April, was "christened" in an inflatable paddling pool on Saturday. Rashmi, Indian for ray of sun, is only the second such animal to be born in one of the country’s zoos. Indian elephants are threatened by extinction, with only around 55,000 specimens living in the wild. Ostrava zoo’s elephant pavilion was built in 2004 and cost 85 million Czech crowns.